St. Lawrence Seaway sets winter closing

St. Lawrence Seaway sets winter closing

The St. Lawrence Seaway will close to navigation Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m., the Canadian and United States corporations managing the waterway announced.

There could be slight changes made to the exact closing date of the Seaway-Great Lakes system depending on weather conditions. "[A]ll vessels must be clear of the system at 23:59 hours on Dec. 29th," according to a notice posted on the joint Web site of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. in Washington and Canada's St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

While the system traditionally closes for three months of winter maintenance, the managing companies are considering extending the navigation season to help make the waterway more competitive with other traffic modes.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario and Welland Canal segments of the system will close at one minute to midnight on Dec. 26. Any further changes to this closing date will be reported on Dec. 15.

The Canadian Ice Service expects the Seaway to freeze over near Montreal around its usual date of Dec. 18, and around Dec. 26-27 west of Montreal.

Through Oct. 31, Seaway traffic declined to 31.272 million metric tons against 31.975 tons for the same period in 2002. Vessel transits totaled 3,000, down from 3,125.